Resume & CV FAQs and answers

Q: Does a CV always need to be only one page?

A: CV length should not exceed two sides of A4. How much of those two sides you fill depends on how much you have done. Undergraduates and school leavers may be hard pushed to fill two sides of A4 simply because they may not have very much experience, if this is the case one side of A4 will suffice. Conversely candidates who have established a career history will have to be selective as to what they include so that it all fits on, in this case make sensible use of margin and paragraph sizes.

Q: Should the education section always be near the top?
A: If you still are in or have recently completed formal education your academic achievements will form a major part of your qualifications, and it is recommended to place these near the top of your CV. Also some industries, notably communications, value related experience above degree work and therefore, place your academic qualifications further down the page.

Q: Is an objective always necessary?
A: No, it is not crucial, however an employer will be impressed if you have a focused idea of where you want your career to be heading, especially if it is in line with their planned development.

Q: What if I haven't done very much to fill up my CV?
A: This does not matter, everyone has to start somewhere, if sparse content is a problem use sensible formatting and fonts so that you comfortably fill one side of A4.

Q: Do hobbies and personal interests need to be shown?
A: It is not imperative to show your interests however it can provide an employer with an insight into your personality.

Q: Must references be included?
A: It is advisable not too include references as part of your CV. A small note stating that 'References available on request' will be sufficient.

Q: What should be on my CV?
A: Contact details, Date of birth and nationality, an introduction, previous employment history, academic qualifications, hobbies and interests.

Q: What shouldn't I put on my CV?
A: Religion, references, sexuality, why you left your previous jobs, all your school grades, a photo, lies.

Q: Do I have to include all of my exam results?
A: No, just the most recent

Q: In what order do I list information?
A: Contact details at the top, a brief introduction, employment history, education, interests hobbies.

Q: What sort of paper should I print it on?
A: The best quality that you can get your hands on, but use common sense, do not get paper that is too thick.

Q: In what text format should I save my CV so that it can be e-mailed?
A: If you want to be sure that the recipient can read your submission then sending a txt attachment is recommended. However this format does not allow you to include attractive formatting. Most offices have MS Office applications, and so a Word document will probably be suitable. PDF files take up more memory, but if you are applying for design industry jobs and have a highly stylised CV then this could be the best format. If you want to be certain you could paste a txt version of your CV into the body of the e-mail as well as attaching a Word or PDF version.

Q: How can I ensure that my CV will be read?
A: CVs usually aren't read at first, they are scanned. With that in mind you should build your CV to be easily scanned by sight:

Q: Do I need more than one CV?
A: Construct a 'core CV' using the 'How to write a killer CV' guide then configure that to the recipient each time you send it out. Refer to the articles Tailoring your CV and Targeting your CV

Q: How far back should I go with the information I put on my CV?
A: Ten years is usually sufficient. Go back further and you run the risk of rambling on with irrelevant information or, worse, dating yourself.
However, there are certain situations in which experience from more than ten years ago may be advantageous to show on your resume. In this case, it is usually a good idea to taper the descriptions of your experience as you work back (making entries less detailed). Another option may be to find another way to show experience or qualification from more than ten years ago.

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